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The timeless classic tale of how the 12 animals in the Chinese Zodiac were chosen (and why there is no cat). A long time ago in ancient China, the Jade emperor, ruler of heaven and earth, proclaimed a great race: the first twelve animals to cross the river would each have a year named after them - and be immortalized in the Chinese Zodiac. The animals lined up along the shore, eager to begin. Some chose to race honestly; others were more devious. Some helped their friends along the way; others raced alone. Some were distracted; others focused with all their might on winning. But there were thirteen animals racing for only twelve places. Who would come first? And who would miss out? Includes an annotated list of the Zodiac signs (with associated birth years) so readers can look up their own sign - and find out what they're like! It is a fast-paced, deceptively simple story - with a light-hearted (but eternal) life lesson on every page. Say goodbye to Western star signs: the Chinese Zodiac is the new (OK, ancient) black.